Sturry High Street
© P.E. Blanche 1999
Sturry High Street today

It is possible that the village originally stood on an island around which the River Stour flowed. In Roman times a fort was constructed here to protect the crossing at the Stour. This was particularly important because of Sturry being on the route from their fortifications at Reculver and the main "hub" of Canterbury. Not so long ago the River here was an excellent trout stream and more about this aspect is included in the section about Fordwich which adjoins Sturry to the South.

Later, it was well known as a point at which smugglers came through on their way from the coast into Canterbury. There was little chioce but to come this way from the North East Kent coast. From Margate and Thanet this was also the most direct and safest route because of the marshes that lay to the South of the Canterbury Road all the way from Sarre.

Prior to WWII the High Street was a gentle curve followed by a sharper curve at the North end prior to its crossing of the Canterbury to Thanet railway lines. However, on the evening of Tuesday, November 18, 1941, just after 7 o'clock, a lone German raider, or straggler, dropped two parachute mines on the village. One landed near some allotments and caused no real damage but the second landed outside the Red Lion public house demolishing much of the original houses in the centre of the High Street and killing fifteen people. One of these was a little girl who had been in the bakers and she was found in the street still clutching the bag of buns she had recently purchased.

Sturry High Street
Sturry High Street after the bombing.
Click on the picture for a larger view.

Also includes the article from The Daily Herald
of 1941 describing the aftermath of this raid.

Anyone who has lived in the Canterbury area could never forget the endless frustration of having to wait for the crossing gates at Sturry for the trains to go through - especially while sitting in a bus or car on a hot Summer's Day!

It is worth mentioning here that The Kent Family History Society has an extensive collection of microfiche on the parish records for Sturry that can be purchased from them.

See also: Sturry High Street - 1941

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